Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.


Celebrating 22 Years of Success in the Trade Show Business: A Journey with TradeshowGuy Exhibits

It’s July, and it marks a milestone in the life of TradeshowGuy Exhibits and my career in the tradeshow world. This year marks 21 years since I moved from radio into the tradeshow world and sold my first project, a custom 20×20 tradeshow exhibit, to Kettle Foods. At the time, I had just been hired by Interpretive Exhibits in Salem and happened to have a good friend at Kettle, and they just happened to be on the lookout for a new tradeshow booth.

I was off and running. For the next nine years, I brought in numerous corporate, government, and nonprofit entities into the clientele at Interpretive Exhibits. Then in July 2011, the owner shut the company down. At that point, I had a choice: find another job or try to keep going on my own in the tradeshow world. It took a bit of effort, but with a handful of clients from the defunct company, I was able to make a go on my own.

A Diverse Clientele and Noteworthy Achievements:

Since then, TradeshowGuy Exhibits boasts an impressive roster of clients, including distinguished names like Bob’s Red Mill, Schmidt’s Naturals, Meduri Farms, Nancy’s Yogurt, Hyland’s Homeopathic, Wedderspoon Natural Honey, Dave’s Killer Bread, and Alpine Bread, Organixx, Safe Catch, and more. Our involvement with SoYoung, which received the prestigious Exhibitor’s Portable Modular Awards in the 10×10 category, exemplifies our commitment to crafting exceptional exhibits that stand out on the trade show floor.

An Expert in the Field

I’ve been at the helm of TradeshowGuy Exhibits since the beginning. In an effort to show off my growing expertise and knowledge in the tradeshow industry, I was lucky to have been recognized by Exhibitor Magazine, a monthly publication devoted to trade show professionals. They featured me in a thought-provoking article titled “Trade Show Survival Guide.” The article focused on my book, “Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level,” which provided invaluable guidance to businesses seeking to maximize their impact at trade shows.

Building on the success of his first book, I published a follow-up gem in 2018 titled “Tradeshow Superheroes and Exhibiting Zombies: 66 Lists Making the Most of Your Tradeshow Marketing.” This publication offered practical advice and strategies to maximize every tradeshow opportunity.

Collaboration with Trusted Partners:

TradeshowGuy Exhibits owes much of its success to the unwavering support of trusted partners who have played pivotal roles in the company’s journey. Working hand in hand with Classic Exhibits for design and fabrication has allowed TradeshowGuy Exhibits to bring to life captivating and innovative exhibits that leave a lasting impression on attendees.

The partnership with Eagle Management for show labor ensures that each exhibit is flawlessly executed, allowing clients to focus on building connections and leaving a lasting impact on their audience. And with Scan Global Logistics managing shipping logistics, TradeshowGuy Exhibits can rest assured that their exhibits and materials arrive safely and on time, no matter where the event occurs.

I should also mention 3D exhibit designer Greg Garrett, who has provided us with several great designs, including the iconic Bob’s Red Mill 30×30 island booth that gave the company ten years of service before finally being retired last year.

Embracing the Future with Confidence:

As TradeshowGuy Exhibits celebrates 22 years in the trade show business, the future looks brighter than ever. With a proven track record of excellence and a commitment to innovation, the company is ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Their passion for creativity and dedication to client success will continue to be the driving force behind their accomplishments in the future.

A Heartfelt Thank You:

Finally, to our esteemed clients, partners, and all those who have been part of this incredible journey, TradeshowGuy Exhibits extends its heartfelt gratitude.

Shifting Sands

You’ve been there. Walking along on a solid path, maybe near a beach or in the forest. Suddenly, the ground shifts beneath your feet. What you thought was solid ground turns out to be rickety and unstable. Either you do a quick balance readjustment, or you stumble. Maybe you’ll even fall.

Two years into the pandemic (okay, we’re into the third year by now, but who’s counting, right?), and all of us are experiencing shifting ground beneath our feet to some extent. Labor shortages. Shipping price hikes and extended shipping times. Exhibit builders working to create stopgap products (hand sanitizer stands, plexiglass barriers, whatever) to keep people working.

Doing what I do best 🙂

We all tried a lot of things.

For the longest time, I kept cranking away at this blog. For a dozen years, starting in late 2008, I’ve posted here regularly, sometimes once a day, usually two or three times a week. In the beginning, there was a podcast that showed up on the blog, but it eventually faded. Starting in 2015 I began doing monthly live webinars (they’re archived here and there are a bunch of good interviews and topics). Then I morphed to doing weekly Monday morning live interviews, but that became a bit unwieldy without an actual producer who could book guests and get everything lined up. So, it went to a weekly interview/check-in. It was a great challenge, and I enjoyed it. Certainly, I learned a lot from the people I interviewed, whether it was old friends/colleagues in the biz, or new people that somehow connected with me. Good stuff.

But in mid-summer 2021, I started to run out of gas. My energies shifted. My weekly interviews become bi-weekly, as did the newsletter. My creative energies were focused elsewhere (I’ve written first, second, and sometimes third drafts of five novels and I’m working on one of them to get it to the point where there’s a good chance a publisher might pick it up – fingers crossed).

Like many exhibit companies, we work with a small group of loyal clients. Some of them have decided to sit out 2021 and 2022. Others are going full speed ahead – we’re even working on a new custom 20×30 for one long-time client that’ll make its debut in March in Anaheim. As a business, TradeshowGuy Exhibits is having a good start to the year.

How important has blogging been to that success? The answer is all over the board. I can specifically point to a handful of projects in 2015 and 2016 that came as a direct result of clients finding the blog online and reaching out to me. But it’s not like pushing a button. You can’t publish a post and expect it to have any results. The readership of the blog was a little higher six or seven years ago, but it’s still consistent regardless of how often I post. Could it be better? Sure. Could it be worse? Of course.

Now, of course, if you were to check the dates of the last few posts, you’ll see that I haven’t posted anything here since November of last year. Every time I start to plan a post, I think, I’ve done that before. With around 1200 posts over a dozen years, yeah, I’ve covered a lot of tradeshow-related topics, most of them aimed at tradeshow managers for small to medium-sized companies. And I hate to repeat myself, although it’s not hard to take a topic and approach it from a different angle.

All this to say that this blog, while not on official hiatus, is certainly backing off from regular posts. The newsletter is also on a semi-unpredictable schedule. My work energy is focused on making sure clients are happy and taken care of. Creative energy is going into writing fiction and playing more music (I’m a drummer and guitarist).

Having said that, guest articles are always welcome (guidelines here). And if you know someone, or are someone, that would make a good guest for the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Podcast, be sure to reach out.

And best wishes for 2022!

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, February 1, 2021: Orvel Ray Wilson

Over a decade ago, I ran across Orvel Ray Wilson’s book (co-authored by Conrad Jay Levinson and Mark S A Smith) “Guerrilla Trade Show Selling” made a big impact on my knowledge of the tradeshow world. Years later, it still stands up. On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I sat down with Orvel and quizzed him about the tradeshow world, public speaking in a pandemic and more:

Find Orvel Ray Wilson at Guerrilla Group.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING is the new Foo Fighter’s album Medicine at Midnight, set for release later this week. Here’s their most recent single, “Waiting on a War.”

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, November 23, 2020: Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving Week here in the USA. It’s also Black Friday Week, which is of course, the natural progression of Black Friday into a whole week long thing, but that’s another story. Given that it’s Thanksgiving Week, I thought I’d do a short podcast/vlog on a handful of things I’m very thankful for.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Jeff Tweedy’s book “How to Write One Song.”

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, November 16, 2020: Stephanie Selesnick

When it comes to exhibiting internationally, you probably couldn’t find many people more experienced than Stephanie Selesnick of International Trade Information. In this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, Stephanie and I talked about what it takes to exhibit overseas, what barriers exhibitors typically run into, how it’s going during the pandemic and more:

Find International Trade Information here.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Seth Godin’s new book “The Practice.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, November 9, 2020: Rich Kahn

CEO and co-founder of Anura, Rich Kahn, joins me on this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee to talk about ad fraud. It’s one of the conversations where you keep learning stuff you didn’t previously know – which made it really worthwhile. I hope you find it the same way.

Find here.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: a new album coming in February from the Foo Fighters. They did a couple of songs over the weekend on Saturday Night Live. Here’s their new single:

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, November 2, 2020: Podcast Sixpack

It was an idea that I cribbed from David Newman of Do It Marketing: grab six great podcasts (or vlogs) from the recent past, and re-post them. But I took it a step further by picking some good snippets from each of them and doing a new vlog/podcast. Take a look:

Here are links to the full shows – all worth watching:

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: the return of Pac-12 football.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, July 6, 2020: Marlys Arnold

Before we get to the insightful interview with Marlys Arnold of Exhibit Marketer’s Cafe, I test out a new Kimafun wireless microphone and explore my backyard. Because, why not? Then in the interview Marlys and I test the waters on what it will take to get back to a quote-unquote normal tradeshow world. Take a look:

Check out Exhibit Marketer’s Cafe here.

Here’s the Kimafun wireless lapel mic I’m using (thanks to Ken Newman for suggesting it!).

ONE GOOD THING: a trio of rare Beatle photographs that I share.

Subscribe to TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee on Apple Podcasts here.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel Tradeshow Marketing here, where the vlog version of the podcast appears weekly.

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